As a DIY purchaser who will be supplying my own OS and ssd to my device, I understand why the title suggestion may seem counter intuitive to those of us who understand how simple it can be to install Linux on our own. As simple as it may be for experienced users to install Linux themselves, especially if they are the type who would love the DIY edition, there are also many new users who will probably be getting computers like the Frameworks laptop from their family and friends. The people gifting them who want to help teach them about laptops and reparability or who just want to get a good quality laptop as a gift are often people like me. People who are trying to introduce Linux to a new generation and showing them how important free and open source hardware and software is for the future. At the moment if someone new to computers wants to get Linux on a frameworks laptop, they have to have someone who knows how to install Linux for them which for them would be a scary thing if they haven’t done it before. More importantly though, using Linux shouldn’t be reserved to the DIY community only. Windows 10 being a default option has many long term problems for consumers and hardware manufacturers alone beyond just being annoying for Linux users to have to install over. Linux and the modern desktop environments like Gnome and KDE Plasma are leading the way to a new generation of Linux users who don’t have to be experienced Linux users to be experimenting with FOSS. So it would make a huge difference and support the Linux ecosystem if Frameworks non DIY edition had at least the option to have a build of the computer that has a Linux OS like Popos or Ubuntu or ZorinOS or Endeavor OS preinstalled on their device, either as the only OS on the ssd it comes with or as a dual boot with Windows 10 (home or pro depending on the model). Heck, even if you just gave an option with the DIY edition to have all the same options as currently but add an option to preinstall Linux on their device would go a long way IMO to making a statement that there is nothing stopping laptop makers from giving consumers options on what OS they use on their machine. Especially because it would help those who are afraid of installing Linux themselves and not having driver compatibility know that they would be getting a Linux distro that out of the box supports the hardware instead of having to explore the forums to figure out what distro has compatibility and working out for themselves how to get everything working. For some consumers, they may want the freedom of hardware reparability but without having to use windows 10 just to ensure the software they get out of the box will work with their devices. As someone who has no problem with the idea of doing it all on my own since i find it to be fun, I also know that many of my friends and family have used excuses like this in the past to not even try installing Linux on a usb and trying it, let alone taking a “risk” of installing it on their hardware themself.
On a side note, having an option for a keyboard with a non-windows super button by default (perhaps the frameworks logo or simply a penguin) would also be a cool touch that i would pay extra for if you could add it, either for all version or as an optional addon/ choice for the diy edition.
Linux is not a Win10 or MacOS. There are so many differences in multiple Linux distros, starting from package managers, UI subsystems to the actual configuration approaches. The Linux distro that works for you doesn’t mean it works for me.
Also, If you can’t install Linux by yourself – preinstalled Linux will not help you in your Linux jorney.
P.S. I can’t imagine anyone who can’t install e.g. Ubuntu 21.04 or the latest version of ZorinOS. It’s so streightforward even comparing to Win10. Finetuning – it’s another thing, but if you can’t finetune your Linux – Linux is definetly not for you. The same is true for Win10. Preinstalled Linux will definetly not help.
I agree that having a windows key would be great, but I don’t think we need to have a Linux based operating system preinstalled. I would perfectly be happy to get a model with no windows license and install Fedora onto it.
That said, I can see an option to have Fedora and Ubuntu installed as those two are the officially recognized distros from Framework
As I mentioned elsewhere on this forum (where someone wanted to be able to use Linux without ever needing sudo/su), I think it’s a bad idea. I believe the power of Linux is that it’s free as in choice, not beer (though there is that, too). The great benefit would be lost to most users who can’t take advantage of it. In order to use a Linux machine for everyday use, one should feel comfortable learning about their computer because, inevitably, there will likely be more trouble than something like Windows/MacOS.
I think there’s an argument to be made for this. Prebuilt machines, but alongside Windows, options for no OS (maybe) and two or three current popular distributions, tuned to work as well as possible on the Framework Laptop. Preinstalled and downloadable. Choices.
When I was in college I had a friend who was a computer science / physics double major. The guy could whip up amazing code in like no time.
And he was astounded that I was willing to take a screwdriver, open a desktop computer, and stick my hands in there and change things around.
Not everyone wants to build the hardware. Some people don’t want to work any harder at installing Linux than they do when they fire up a Windows machine for the first time. Even as hard as sticking a USB drive into a machine and hitting F12.
And they shouldn’t have to. Not if it’s not necessary. Not if it’ll sell…
(On that last point: I have a feeling Framework knows why they’re not - hopefully yet - offering this. Companies don’t just start or stop making things for no reason…)
Linux has made incredible strides in usability, and it’s not unrealistic to try to move people onto it who share Framework’s values, and are interested in getting away from commercial OSs, but don’t have the time or skills for the more technical tuning and configuration that Linux allows. I’d bet this demographic is likely to understand that a few extra steps are still necessary AFTER Linux is installed and - y’know, might even like it.
A well-matched and -tweaked distribution or two, with support from their organizations, and some FW-specific documentation to get beginners going in the right direction, would be a powerful addition to Framework’s product line, IMO.
In six months or so.
Can we let these amazing folks breathe a little?
I think it would be REALLY foolish of Framework to try to be the support wing of Linux distros that currently don’t really exists. When they offer Windows, there is Mircosoft for support.
With Linux there is usually google.
Linux works on the Framework and that is great. But Framework as a company is already doing some super heavy lifting. I don’t think it would be wise for them to try to do some even more heavy lifting.
Baby steps here.
Framework is already going well beyond other manufacturers in offering a “no OS” option at a discount and actively encouraging Linux. That’s way more than you’d get with almost every other manufacturer.
With the sheer number of distros and the almost religious adherence of certain people to certain distros, you’ll never please everybody.
One or two big ones might be good, but if supporting them takes away from product development, better not. The forum threads here serve this purpose well. Users are supporting each other and the development team chimes in here and there - way more than you get with most manufacturers, who are indifferent, secretive or openly hostile to users messing around with “their” hardware.
There are niche manufacturers who are solely focused on Linux. System76 and Purism come to mind. Framework has taken a different approach and is not focused entirely on Linux - their sustainable/upgradeable philosophy is more important and for that they need wide adoption quickly, and that means Windows, as much as we might not want to admit it. They are not going to be a 100% Linux company, their idea is more to change the product landscape. If the OS factors into that, great, but it’s not their sole focus.
And it’s early days yet! Give it some time. It’s very hopeful that Framework is as open to Linux as they are.
Bit of a controversial opinion–I agree. This laptop as a platform has the potential to be a launchpad for the Linux community, and that means (braces for angry purists) making linux more accessible at the step-zero level of not having to install an OS.
@KOSTYANTYN_RUKHLIS , have you ever heard an average person talk about their computer? It’s some sort of wizarding box they control with a magic wand and by pressing the correct runes, but they get frustrated with little nagging things about Windows and MacOS too, and I would honestly be extremely surprised if they could
- Create a bootable USB for an install ISO (or even know how a computer boot works and that it actually can boot from a USB at all, I know I sure as heck didn’t until I had to restore Windows Vista from a CD backup a few years ago)
- Shut down their computer (university professors’ laptops have the most horrifying uptimes), and
- Correct their boot order (what the hell is a BIOS and what key do I press to get into it at what time)
all of which we can just do automatically in about 3 minutes depending on the speed of the hardware, and seem like a master wizard. And that’s all BEFORE you get to click ‘install’!
Ubuntu 21 is already fully supported, why not make it an option for the prebuilts to get people curious about the new world Linux provides? At worst we’ll get a few curiosity buys. At best, we add to Linux’s market share. Yes, learning Linux involves learning about your computer, but it’s like getting a kid to read by playing a game; they just want to play the game, not read, so you have to give them some of the game first, or they will 100% be scared away from the perceived difficulty of the materials, and the aforementioned wizardly perspective of ‘I just don’t understand computers’ is reinforced.
An alternative option would be to provide a small (maybe 128GB) storage expansion card that has a self-contained install on it, maybe that could be a project for some expansion card devs? I don’t know the full scope of GNU/GPL re: the operating systems or how laptops are sold with Linux preinstalled so I don’t know if selling that would be permitted without some external agreement, or if an expansion card dev could secure that agreement. This satisfies the option for people with minimal hardware knowledge but are curious about their options to try Linux, but leaves the prebuilts intact.
Better yet, what would a shipping the laptop with a custom ‘installer installer’ or ‘meta-installer’ USB drive look like? It could have a selection of supported distros+their previews, and upon selection it downloads the ISO, flashes it to a partition on its drive, edits its boot menu so it can boot this new install, and auto-opens the install process?
@Be_Far - I expect that this will be the most likely option:
This is pure speculation, but I think that if Framework were to supply machines with linux installed, there would be an expectation of support, which is a path that they likely do not wish to go down.
@lbkNhubert That’s a fair concern, however keep in mind that Canonical provides enterprise support. This is unconventional for sure, but if Framework can get the laptop Ubuntu Certified, they may be able to pay to contract their service and redirect Ubuntu issues to Canonical. When has Framework ever been conventional in any sense?
@Be_Far - could be. I’d love to see something like that, but I don’t expect to any time soon. Linux just isn’t ready for the masses. It’s fine for enthusiasts, but it’s darned hard to configure, maintain, and use for the average end user. A LTS version might work out (obviously once all of the hardware were supported).
@lbkNhubert I agree, which is why trying to make the process as easy as possible (removing the install step and just giving the user an operating system) is necessary. Those troubles realistically aren’t going away for a while, that’s undeniable. Thus, we need to minimize the rest if Linux is to become mainstream.
Ultimately I agree that to gain mainstream adoption, Linux needs to be preinstalled. I think an option to preinstall something user friendly like Zorin OS, elementary OS, Mint, or Pop OS would be amazing for people who don’t have the technical skills to install it theirselves. However, Framework has more important priorities right now, like staying afloat, so if preinstalling Linux in any way hampers their business, they should wait a bit till they are more resilient.
For those who don’t realize what installing a distro is actually like for the average user who is new to Linux: LINUX is still HARD to install? - YouTube ;
I agree with the sentiment that an Sku should be an option, but at the same time, it would have to be like System 76’s pop os with some sort of vendor support.
The linux community has not provided a viable frictionless frontend for that* kind of user. So putting up an Sku as a “default” that can’t even meet this sort of expectation is also harmful to Framework’s brand integrity.
System 76 is already investing in making an entirely new desktop manager… I hope for their success but it goes to show the monumental task to truly reach something “frictionless” for the average even somewhat-technical consumer.
I would very much appreciate the option of buying a pre-assembled machine without having to pay the microsoft tax.
I ended up buying a pre-assembled machine because I ordered it through my employer’s purchasing department, and I didn’t feel like testing if “DIY” assembly would lead to hiccups there – and also because I was not particularly looking for a DIY experience.
My first action on the machine was trying get it to boot my FC35 live stick to then wipe Windows and put FC35 in place. My particular experience would actually have been better if windows were NOT installed on the machine, and instead the BIOS had complained about nothing bootable and/or immediately recognize the bootable stick.
(instead I had a few tries slamming F12 or F2 to see which would get be the boot device selector)
Had it come with a linux install or some nominal free stub OS, I could have saved the tax payer some Microsoft subsidy. This was one thing I appreciated on the Dell XPS “developer edition” – I didn’t particularly care for the pre-installed Ubuntu (which didn’t actually fully support all the hardware flawlessly), but at least it saved a few dollars, and I had the piece of mind that at least one flavour of linux was supported on it (Framework already gave that piece of mind).
A public sector purchasing department that cares beyond the price tag at the end of the invoice?! Impressive!
It’s a good point though. As much as the masses probably don’t care, it wouldn’t take much for Framework to not bother installing an OS on a prebuilt machine…